Rise of the Runelords
The Lost Coast
Those who head north from Magnimar along the rocky coastline quickly find themselves in a peculiar country. Fog drapes the rolling landscape, floating spectrally along damp and lonely moors. Small woodlands grace the region, their tangled depths redolent of nettles and pepperwood and pine sap, while further inland, river valleys lined by majestic redwoods wind between ragged tors and limestone escarpments. This vastness and the sense of isolation have earned the region its local name. This is the Lost Coast.
Yet there are pockets of civilization along the Lost Coast. Traditional Varisian campsites can be found in nearly every gulch and hollow along the cliff-lined reaches, and lonely houses sit upon bluffs now and then—domiciles for eccentrics or the rich seeking a bit of peace far from the bustle of Magnimar’s streets. Roadside inns grace the Lost Coast road every 24 miles or so, placed by virtue of the distance most travelers can walk given a day’s travel. Low stone shrines to Desna, goddess of wanderers and patron of the Varisians, give further opportunities for shelter should one of the all-too-common rainstorms catch the traveler unaware. Given time, any of these seeds of civilization could bloom into a fullgrown town, or even a city. It’s happened once already, along the shores of a natural harbor nestled among the cliffs some 50 miles northeast of Magnimar. What was once a larger-than-normal Varisian campsite in the shadow of an ancient ruined tower has become the Lost Coast’s largest town: Sandpoint.
As one approaches the town of Sandpoint, the footprint of civilization upon the Lost Coast grows more clear. Farmlands in the outlying moors and river valleys grow more numerous, and the blue-green waters of the Varisian Gulf bear more and more fishing vessels upon its surface. Passage over creeks and rivers is more often accomplished by wooden bridge than ford, and the Lost Coast Road itself grows wider and better-kept. Sight of Sandpoint from either approach (south or east) is kept hidden by the large upthrust limestone pavements known as the Devil’s Platter or the arc of rocky outcroppings known as Whistler’s Tors, but as the final bend in the road is rounded, Sandpoint’s smoking chimneys and bustling streets greet the traveler with open arms and the promise of warm beds, a welcome sight indeed for those who have spent the last few days alone on the Lost Coast Road. From the south, entrance to Sandpoint is governed by a wooden bridge, while from the north a low stone wall gives the town a bit of protection. Here, the Lost Coast Road passes through a stone gatehouse that is generally watched by one or two guards—the southern bridge is typically unattended. Aside from the occasional goblin, the citizens of Sandpoint have traditionally had little worries about invasion or banditry—the region simply isn’t populated enough to make theft a lucrative business. Hanging from a bent nail at both the gatehouse and the southern bridge is a sign and a mirror— painted on each sign is the message: “Welcome to Sandpoint! Please stop to see yourself as we see you!”
The city of Magnimar was settled by colonists dissatisfied with the strong reliance on Chelish support in Eastern Varisia, and before long the need for additional farmland grew apparent. To the south, the sloppy expanse of the Mushfens made farming difficult, so the settlers turned their eyes northward along the Lost Coast. For much of its length, the coast offered little shelter, with one exception—a perfect cove about 50 miles away. A cove overlooked by a curious stone ruin.
The foundation of a new town is not a matter to be taken lightly, nor one to be funded by one man. Four powerful families from Magnimar had designs on the region, and rather than work against each other, they consolidated their efforts and formed the Sandpoint Mercantile League. These four families, the Kaijitsus (glassmakers and jewelers), the Valdemars (shipbuilders), the Scarnettis (loggers), and the Deverins (farmers and brewers), sailed north to claim their land after securing the rights from the Charterhouse in Magnimar. Yet when they arrived, they found the place already settled by a large tribe of Varisians.
Refusing to be set back, the Sandpoint Mercantile League began a series of talks with the Varisians, promising them an important place in the new township. Unfortunately, after a week of talks that seemed to be going nowhere, an impatient man named Alamon Scarnetti took matters into his own hands. Rounding up a group of his brothers and cousins, the Scarnettis mounted a murderous raid on the Varisian camp, intent on killing them all and leaving evidence to blame local goblins for the deed. Yet the Scarnettis, too drunk and overconfident, managed to kill only five Varisians before they were themselves forced to flee, leaving behind three of their own.
The Sandpoint Mercantile League fled back to Magnimar, and in the months to follow were embroiled in the repercussions of Alamon’s assault. Magnimar’s Varisian Council demanded punishment for all four families, but the High Court arbitrated a peace between them, in no small thanks to the remarkable diplomatic skills of a young bard and member of one of the families accused— Almah Deverin. Not only did she manage to assuage the Varisians’ call for blood payment, she also managed to salvage the plans for Sandpoint by promising not only to incorporate the worship of Desna into the new town’s cathedral, but to pay the Varisian Council a generous share of any profits made by Sandpoint businesses over the course of the next 40 years. One year later, the Sandpoint Mercantile League began construction on several buildings with the full cooperation of the Varisian people. In the 42 years since Sandpoint’s foundation, it has flourished. Although the initial term of the compact with the Varisian Council has passed, Sandpoint’s government has elected to extend the compact another 20 years, much to the consternation of a few locals.
Today, Sandpoint is a thriving community. Many industries, including fishing, lumber, farming, hunting, brewing, tanning, shipbuilding, and Kaijitsu’s own legacy of glassmaking, have flourished, luring skilled laborers from as far as Korvosa and Riddleport to relocate here. Yet Sandpoint’s location on the Lost Coast has also recently drawn settlers of another bent. As explorers and adventurers begin to piece together the fragments of ancient Thassilon’s influence over the region so long ago, the presence of Thassilonian ruins have acted as a magnet. The Old Light is no exception, and a few of Sandpoint’s recent arrivals are more interested in this ruin than anything else.
Over its four decade history, Sandpoint has been thankfully free of major disasters. Every winter brings its share of strong storms, yet the natural harbor, sandbars, and cliffs do a remarkable job of blunting the force of wind and wave, leaving the town relatively untouched. Elders in town spin yarns of a few really big storms, but apart from the town’s somewhat rocky beginning with the Varisians, only two events have really qualified as disasters: the Sandpoint Fire and Chopper. These two events, occurring in such close and recent proximity as they have, are generally lumped together as the “Late Unpleasantness,” even though the two events didn’t have any obvious links. Natives of Sandpoint are reluctant to talk about either event, preferring to look ahead to brighter times.
A Story Unfolds
During the annual Swallowtail Festival held in the small town of Sandpoint Konrad Fell the trapper, Sindrin Ulvfen the Alchemist, Rooq Velerin druid of Gozreh, and Menomar the Lonely Monk and also Chad Nightshade the carpenter, defends the town from a vicious attack from goblins. Due to the heroes valiant defence it al goes relatively well, with but a few casualties. After saving a young noble, Aldern Foxglove from being killed , they are invited on a boar hunt. The locals treat they young lads as heroes and the Sheriff and the Mayor ask them to investigate the attack.
They are called to the sandpoint glassworks after a worried halfling woman comes to seek their aid. There they find and slay some goblins but also a human who works with the goblins. Following leads from there the heroes find a shrine to Lamashtu containing a strange well. After “defusing” the well the heroes continue on to the goblins lair at Thistletop. In the hard fighting, the rogue Chad Lightshade gets killed by some strange shadowy creatures. THe druid Rooq decides to leave the group, and they are joined by Azaal, a cleric and Aeirok, a fighter. The heroes return in a solemn mood but feeling better after defeating the goblins leader, a woman known as Nualia.
After some off-time the town is in turmoil again. A murderer is again stalking Sandpoint and killing its citizens in the most gruesome manner. The heroes travel the hinterlands seeking for clues and eventually ends up in Foxglove Manor which is resided some hours travel down the southwestern coast. Aeirok is bored and decides to leave for Magnimar.
The story continues….